Call me a bit bah humbug, but when I was told about a handmade London Xmas market, I instantly thought of watered-down mulled wine and vastly overpriced decorated gingerbread biscuits. Yet further investigation into the E20 Christmas Makers Market revealed it to be completely homemade-Hackney-hipster, rather than the usual tourist trapping Xmas markets you'll find in Hyde Park or the Southbank. Espresso martinis in plastic champagne saucers were the drink of choice from the chic Christmas cocktail cabin, while you could peruse the artisan stalls for a variety of one-of-a-kind homeware that would make excellent Xmas gifts (to yourself, obvs).
Soy candles, knits, rugs, cushions, wall hangings and ceramics could all be found at the Makers Market. What tied them all together was the fact everything was handmade or finalised in London, pretty much using all natural materials and dyes.
I loved the artist and weaver Christabel Balflour's work. It was also super nice to talk to the person who actually makes the product, as she could tell you all about just how long it actually took, how she does it, and you could really see how much she loved her weaving and her business. I'd so rather give my cash to her than a generic high street store.
The market, situated just over the road from Westfield Stratford in the East Village, will be a Christmas pop-up running each weekend from the 26th November until the 11th December. Each weekend will be different stands/makers, so if you visit twice you won't find the same brands.
A series of workshops will also be running alongside the market if you fancy having a go at making the products yourself (pre-booking online required). Botanical stylists Geo-fleur will be hosting wreath making workshops using succulents and air plants.
The Makers Market is FREE to enter and is open Saturdays 11am-6pm, and Sundays 11am-4pm.